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Ohio State students discover stranger living in basement

Some OSU students living on 13th Avenue recently discovered a stranger was living in their basement. Credit: Chelsea Spears / Asst. multimedia editor

Some OSU students living on 13th Avenue recently discovered a stranger was living in their basement.
Credit: Chelsea Spears / Asst. multimedia editor

Do you know your roommates? One house of Ohio State students didn’t.

Some OSU students discovered they had an additional roommate living with them recently — one they had no idea was there.

The roommates thought a locked door in the basement led to a utility closet. When maintenance workers knocked the door down, they found a bedroom complete with framed photographs and textbooks, said Jimmy Alderman, a fourth-year in civil engineering.

The residents had the locks changed that night and posted a note asking their houseguest to call them, said resident Brett Mugglin, a fourth-year in computer science and engineering. A man named Jeremy contacted them and then moved his belongings out of the room.

“He was a nice enough guy,” Mugglin said. “He just wasn’t supposed to be there.”

Ten students live on the second and third floor of the house under one lease, and the first floor is leased to five other people.

During the summer, Mugglin walked into the basement and encountered a man who said he had wondered when he was going to meet the new residents of the house. When asked if he lived on the first floor, the man skirted around the question, Mugglin said. Mugglin later identified that man as their unexpected houseguest, Jeremy.

NorthSteppe Realty is the leasing company of the home, which is located on 13th Avenue. The company changed the locks the night Jeremy was discovered but has done little else, said resident Mark Hartman, a fourth-year in civil engineering.

“They hadn’t changed the locks from the year before,” Hartman said, “and the keys don’t say ‘do not duplicate.’ There could be hundreds of people with keys to the house.”

Mugglin shared his roommate’s discontent.

“I have nothing nice to say about NorthSteppe,” Mugglin said.

NorthSteppe Realty did not return The Lantern’s request for comment.

Jeremy’s cousin lived in the house the year before, which is how he got in, according to the housemates.

Some of the housemates went to Student Legal Services for assistance and said they were referred to a firm that specializes in housing contracts. NorthSteppe is waiting for the residents to propose a settlement for the damages, Alderman said.

“It was a dangerous situation,” Alderman said. “It could definitely have been a lot worse.”


  1. That is just absolutely wild. There has to be some legal ramifications for the housing company, and they’re just lucky it wasn’t much worse

  2. NorthSteppe reality is the absolute worst realtors I’ve ever came in contact with. I would not suggest them to anyone.

  3. I’ve had nothing but problems from NorthSteppe. They even claimed the black mold growing in the apartment was a “natural occurrence” (they hadn’t sealed a window properly) and didn’t want to pay to have it taken care of. I had to talk to Student Legal Services about the issue as well, and it finally got resolved (months later).

  4. NorthSteppe is horrible, but the big realtors around campus have a oligopoly and there isn’t much choice.

  5. Peak Property is THE worst! North steppe is pretty bad too… trust me on peak tho. They just have NO idea what they are doing. we lived with asbestos in our basement for months before we saw any response from them along with a raccoon in the ceiling that had babies that would run all along through out the walls in the house. campus realtors are terrible people… at least most of the time.

  6. Good for them for suing! These realtors need to realize that they have a responsibility to uphold.

  7. Shameless plug for Compass Properties. Small collection of houses where the landlady gets to know all her tenants. Incredibly nice and quick to fix any problem, even if it means getting a new dryer for what I still think was just a broken drum belt. I’m not complaining though.

  8. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about NorthSteppe…glad I’ve never personally dealt with them. University Apartments was a nightmare. Twice people entered my apartment from the office without giving any prior notice. I had someone take over my lease as soon as I could after the second incident and got away from that mess.

  9. It’s simple. Just live on campus. You won’t have to deal with this BS, it’s safe, you are surrounded by a community of Buckeyes and you always know what’s going on around campus.

    • Living on campus and being “surrounded by Buckeyes” does NOT keep you safe. I was gang raped ON CAMPUS; and also met my stalker who later sexually assaulted me on campus. Location has nothing to do with safety. It’s HUMANS who are messed up.

  10. Peak is back like others have mentioned. We moved in and literally the a/c and stove did not work along with black mold in the basements and windows that did not open. One of the worst.

  11. buncha sissies. At OU we would’ve tossed him a beer and invited him uptown

  12. You hear horror stories about most of the companies. My sorority was broken into multiple times over the years and once it was someone with a key. We moved houses at the end of the year. Went back to visit the house next door and said hi to new tenants. One girl still had her old house key. Still worked. There are 100s of keys out there for most of those houses.

  13. North Steppe Realty is the worst place to rent from. End of the story. Slum lords with too many properties to manage. Not to mention everyone who lives there has a massive ego which obviously gets in the way of basic landlord duties. The only ONLY good part about North Steppe Realty is the maintenance man from Ireland named Jim. I will NEVER rent from the again and tell everyone I know not to rent from them. I hope these boys sue them for all they have.

  14. They are the worst, our apartment had black mold growing gave us a bleach cleaner for it, yes that is all they did. Then when we moved they charge us 900.00 to paint after living there 2 yrs wouldn’t paint be a given? Then another 900.00 for crap they just rip off the kids here!

  15. North Steppe Realty took all of our $1800 deposit plus we owe an additional $340. All of which are B.S. charges. I would LOVE to throw a brick through their window.

  16. OMG! That was my fraternity house in 2000! How could they not know about the bedroom in the back of the basement?

  17. I rented from North Steppe Reality my junior and senior years, 2010 and 2011. The first year we had a massive gnat problem in the apartment and all they did was send someone to clean up the dead ones the day I moved in. Then I had mice and they did not believe me. Then when I finally got them to set out traps they left them there with dead mice in them. Then I had black mold growing RIGHT NEXT TO MY BED and they wanted to charge ME to clean it. All they did was paint over it. The second year (another apartment) we had a horrible German Cockroach infestation the day we moved in. They tried to tell us that they were only there because the apartment was vacant and once there were people there they would scare off and leave. Idiots. We then collected a bag of them on our own and brought them to the North Steppe office. Only when I threatened to set them loose in their office would they have an exterminator over. They are slum lords and have been sued many times before. I hope these boys are successful in their suit and get North Steppe away from OSU for good!

  18. I agree with all of the comments. NorthSteppe is horrible. I rented from them my sophomore year. They have too many properties to manage and thus do not keep up the maintenance on them. We had a rodent that was living the walls and the basement once flooded with sewage water.

  19. I’m not surprised at all, given North Steppe’s track record. We also had to take legal action against them last year when Mike tried to tell us that we were bound to a new lease that we didn’t sign after we expressed interest in renewing our current (at the time) lease. Contained all sorts of garbage about fee increases that he told me were due to increases in property tax. Surprise! Franklin County Auditor says their taxes went down that year. Good luck to these students. North Steppe needs to go away and never come back.

    By the way, columbusqueen90, I loved Jim the Irishman! I almost invited him in for tea. 🙂

  20. Is Jack Beatly still slumlording over there. Don’t rent, don’t rent from Jack Beatly.

  21. How did he get in and out of the basement without raising suspicion?

    Was it because of the two different leases? Level 1 tohught he was a Level 2/3er and vice versa?

  22. I imagine a Native American newspaper ran a similar story when they found Europeans “living” where they weren’t supposed to be. If Jeremy gave everyone blankets with small pox on it, he could’ve lived there forever – and claimed the property rights. That’s how North Steppe gets to claim ownership of anything they operate.


  23. Why wasn’t “Jeremy” arrested ? he is the one violating the law, not the landlords, although once notified, they should’ve changed all the locks out.

  24. “buncha sissies. At OU we would’ve tossed him a beer and invited him uptown” I agree, college is expensive these days and the guy wasn’t hurting anyone. Any of those legal roommates could have been an axe murderer and the property management would never have known. Should have just let the guy live there if he bought some beer every once in a while.

  25. I lived in this house in that top left room. Northsteppe broke into my room to move everything down the hall because they were doing maintenance at that part and wanted us to leave before our lease was up. I hope northsteppe goes bankrupt and everyone that ever worked for them goes to jail.

  26. There are 15 people living in this house…. That’s insane! No wonder nobody noticed him

  27. I lived here in the early 90’s when it was primarily a rooming house for women. The basement had two lockable bedrooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom. The main floors had 19 women and one guy (who rented a separate/lockable studio on the main floor). It is easy to believe that no one noticed, bc there are so many people in and out in a place that size…

  28. I think they should of let him stay pay rent and finish his last year of school he wasn’t hurting anyone they didn’t even know he was there he did what he had to do to survive

  29. Are you guys at OSU that lame this stuff has been going on for many many years. Wow must be a bunch of young pups. The guy is a very smart guy and alot of campus houses and dorms rent out rooms for beer money. Is OSU this out of touch with reality. I can not believe this makes news like OMG and as much bad stuff going on in the world. The bottom line the guy should be king of campus he rocks and i am sure he is not a homeless bum but the smartest dude on your campus.. Rock on dude you have just out smarted most of OSU college students who are getting ripped off by high rental prices around campus!!!

  30. Since apparently no one actually bothers to moderate this site, and this has been sitting waiting for “approval” for more than two days, apparently because (GASP!!!) it’s got an evil LINK!!:

    Life, meet Art:


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  31. If he was a “nice guy” why didn’t they just offer to rent him the room? Outside of the fact that he was squatting he was obviously an honest guy, considering no one even knew he was there.

    15 people in a house – wow.

    Amusing story none the less.

  32. When I went to OSU, I lived at University Village. The prices were high, room was decent and had a hot next door neighbor. Anyway. I lived on the ground floor and there use to be a hobo that lived on the floors of 616 Stinchcomb. Every night like around 2 or 3 am, you could smell him come in the place. Me and the neighbor called UV at least a dozen times or better to see if they could get him out of there. They never did a thing. Ended up getting the cops out there. Apparently, this guy was wanted suspect for a murder of a homeless man from a few months back. My neighbor got so scared, for the rest of her lease, she slept in my studio. That was a nice couple of months to say the least. UV I enjoyed the buses and the parties but most of the staff there were indifferent to the needs to most of us.

  33. Story would’ve been better if when they walked in he was beating off to pics of their moms.

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  37. This is wild. I’m glad the video showed the room their secret roommate lived in.

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